When I first started high school, I witnessed a cyberbullying incident that put one of my classmates behind bars before their life even started. The student had created a fake Snapchat page that was used to expose the nudity of other students around the school. I assume the kids who had been posted felt embarrassment and also a bit of intimidation at the school after that. The person who started the page was arrested and charged with child pornography and most likely harassment. Just recently has cyber bullying became an underrated topic around the world. It has caused many teens and young adults’ real pain to lose their lives, friendships, and relationships. In extreme cases, some individuals have even been sent to jail for the actions and words they have used to harm others. The smallest things such as gossiping, spreading embarrassing pictures, cyber threats, and Catfishing/ impersonation are all called cyber bullying and can be avoided when there are consequences behind each of them.
Gossiping and the spreading of embarrassing pictures through social media websites, such as Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, email, and text messages has been the main source of cyber bullying. Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook are the top four social media websites which also contain the most cyberbullying incidents among teens. Posting and sending embarrassing pictures can ruin a person’s professional future. Being denied a job or an opportunity for a task because somebody wrongly surfaced an image can give a bad reputation to someone else. Posting any offensive picture without that person’s permission is illegal. This is called copyright infringement. Posting pictures and saying harsh words about someone can also lower someone’s self-esteem. Self- esteem is having confidence in one’s worth and abilities. Being embarrassed and having low self-esteem is not healthy for anyone and could possibly lead to harmful thoughts.
Having these thoughts can lead to committing suicide, cutting wrist, aggressive drug use or even depression which can all be life threatening. “In 2010, a Rutgers University freshman student, Tyler Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge to his death after two classmates allegedly used a webcam to secretly watch him during a gay dorm-room encounter, and the two were charged with invasion of privacy (CQ Researcher).” In Massachusetts, high schooler Phoebe Prince also committed suicide after six of her classmates had bullied her. They are charged with the cause of her death. Secondly, the use of cyber threats is illegal, and you can be arrested and convicted of a misdemeanor. Cyber threats can also affect a person’s mental health. Sending cyber threats can force the victim to become severely paranoid because they feel they may be endangered. When a person is bullied and sent a threat it brings a great deal of stress to them. They tend to worry about their safety and also for others around them. According to the UN Chronicle, “Stress is the biggest factor affecting the mortality rate in modern society.”
Lastly, Catfishing and impersonation have caused emotional trauma to those who are victims of it. They have shown their real and true love to someone who has been not even real or was someone they did not know. Most victims may have shared pictures with others who they thought was someone they loved. Catfishing can also cause trust issues for those who have experienced it. People may think that everyone is a liar or may be out to get them from his or her past experiences. Also, insecurity can be a factor that comes from this as well. Victims may think that are not good enough for someone or worth the time. In conclusion, gossip, embarrassing pictures, threats, and Catfishing are all elements of cyberbullying and can definitely be avoided. Many have argued that “legislating against online behavior is an infringement on civil liberties, such as freedom of speech (Issues and Controversies)” but when it comes to person self-care and safety there should be penalties. Cyberbullying should not only be addressed in schools, but also at home and from the states. As teens and young adults begin to use social media and cell phones more and more often there need to be ways to help stop cyberbullying. “States should pass new anti-cyberbullying legislation so that prosecutors can effectively target cyberbullies, setting an example for other teenagers and preventing tragedies (Issues and Controversies).” Let us take actions now before it is too late.